I just returned from my first Assault Craft Veterans Association (ACVA) reunion. It was held May 21-23. I wrote a blog in March saying, "the time is now for reunions." I know now how true this is. If any of you have a chance to go to a reunion for your ship, crew, or group, do it. You won't be sorry! I was able to spend some time with Sailors that had served during WW-II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and other military operations. Our group was hosted by Assault Craft Unit One in Coronado, California. We held our reunion in conjuction with the LCU-1500 Memorial, tha is held each year at ACU-1 on the Coronado Amphibious Base. The LCU-1500 was hit by a rocket while loading explosives at the Bridge Ramp in Danang Harbor, Vietnam in 1969. All hands were lost, as well as 8 sailors from YFU-78 and 3 secuirty personnel from Naval Support Activity Danang. Three of the attendees were crewmembers on the LCU-1500 when it took an RPG to the Conning Tower just one year before (1968), amost to the date, that it was destroyed. They suffered 1 KIA and 4 WIA that day. One of the WIA s was at the reunion. As you can guess, a lot of "war stories" and "sea stories' were told. What a great bunch of guys in the ACVA. One of my old shipmates from the LCU-1481, Walter Michielutti was there and we had time to visit and remember old shipmates and funny stories of our 8 months on the LCU-1481.
The memorial service for the LCU-1500 was a wonderful experience. Our group presented ACU-1 with a painting commissioned by the ACVA to honor the LCU-1500. All of ACU-1 was there for the memorial and we had a great time talking to the young sailors, Chiefs, and Officers. We were treated to a San Diego harbor cruise on the LCU-1665. Our wives had a great time seeing the harbor as well as getting first hand knowledge of what their husbands lived and served on during their time in the Navy.
I can't say enough about the joy and tears shared by all of us during those 3 days. Please take time to review my new photos. Don't forget that each year that passes, more shipmates leave us and you may might not get many more chances to spend time with them.
Take care everyone!